Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, Summary Report stage

The Third Reading of the Bill in the House of Lords is scheduled for 15 July, for which the marshalled list of amendments to be moved is here and the Bill as amended on Report is here.  All five Amendments in the list have government approval, and are therefore likely to be agreed.  A summary of the issues debated during the three days of the Committee stage is here, and our notes the Report stage, here and here, are summarized below.

No changes were introduced are a result of the Amendments relating to:

  • introducing wording to further distinguish between same-sex and opposite-sex marriage, Amendment 1; conscientious objection to same-sex marriage by registrars, Amendment 3, or schoolteachers, Amendment 46; recognition of humanist marriages, Amendment 7; clarification of the application of section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 to “churches beyond the established church in England and Wales”, Amendment 18; provisions on employee rights, Amendment 49, Amendment 53; formal ceremony for “conversion” of civil partnership to “same sex marriage”; Amendment 55; inclusion of adultery as a ground for same-sex divorce, Amendment 75; pension rights of married same-sex couples, Amendment 84; inclusion of same gender siblings, carers &c, Amendment 94;  provision of guidance by Secretary of State on the teaching of sex and relationships education, which includes teaching on the importance of marriage, and the obligation of schools of a religious character to teach in accordance with their trusts, Amendment 95; holding a referendum on same-sex marriage, Amendment 96

However, government consideration of some of the matters raised during debate in Committee resulted in a number of government Amendments, below, which were agreed.  These include:

  • clarification on the meaning of “compelled” in Clause 2, which provides important protections for religious organisations and their representatives from participating in religious solemnisation of marriages of same-sex couples, Amendment 9 and Amendment 10; clarification of the regulation-making powers in relation to the registration of places of worship for the solemnisation of marriages of same-sex couples and the arrangements for some shared buildings, Amendment 37 and Amendment 41; regulations under Clause 9 to be made by the Secretary of State and not the Registrar General, and would therefore by subject to Parliamentary debate, Amendment 54; other minor Amendments to Clause 9, Amendments 56 to 59; changes to correct Clause 11(1), Amendment 70; various amendments to clarify aspects of the Bill concerning men and women who are transgender, Amendment 86, Amendments 87 to 89, and Amendment 90; Schedule 6 makes provision to replace that regime of consular and Armed Forces marriages overseas with a new regime providing for marriages of both opposite-sex and same-sex couples in consulates and on Armed Forces bases, Amendment 93 and Amendments 128 to 132; amendments to various transitional and consequential provision &c, Orders and Regulations, &c, Amendment 106, Amendments 108 to 111, Amendments 113 to 118, Amendment 125, Amendments 126 to 133; addressing concerns raised by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee in its fourth report of the Session, and aspects of Amendment 123 which was withdrawn, Amendment 123A; changing the title of the Bill to “To make provision for the marriage of same sex couples in England and Wales, about gender change by married persons and civil partners, about consular functions in relation to marriage, for the marriage of armed forces personnel overseas, and for permitting marriages according to the usages of belief organisations to be solemnized on the authority of certificates of a superintendent registrar”, Amendment 135.

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